MCA: Adam Nathaniel Yauch
(August 5, 1964 – May 4, 2012)
Story by Matthew Shack
There are only three hip-hop acts in The Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame; Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, Run DMC and the Beastie Boys.
Arguably the most influential members of two of these three storied groups were Jason "Jam Master Jay" Mizell and Adam "MCA" Yauch.
May they both rest in peace.
Yauch (pronounced YOWK), was the undisputed leader of the Beasties and co-founded the group as a hardcore punk rock band in 1979, along with fellow member, Michael "Mike-D" Diamond.
But in 1983, the genre of hip-hop was bubbling so hard the Beasties just couldn't resist and they released the underground 12-inch single "Cooky Puss" which got them buzzing on the streets of NYC.
That buzz garnered the attention of music impresario, Rick Rubin who signed them to Def Jam as a trio in 1984.
Their revolutionary 1986 debut album, "Licensed to Ill" has been certified over 9x Platinum and have sold 22 million albums in the United States plus 40 million albums worldwide, making them, according to Billboard, "the biggest-selling rap group" since 1991.
Having seen them for myself in concert in the Fall of '86, I can truly say that Beastie Boys are one of the best in-concert acts I have witnessed... by far.
After leaving the Def Jam nest in 1988 and landing at Capitol Records, they unleashed their magnum opus, "Paul's Boutique" produced by The Dust Brothers.
Originally lauded as a 'commercial failure' by record decision makers due to the lofty standard of their debut LP, any hip-hop producer worth their salt can tell you that "Paul's Boutique" is "sonically-layered sampling masterpiece".
In its entirety, 105 songs were sampled on the album, including 24 individual samples on the last track alone... with most of the sampling for the album being cleared for use.
Without question, "Paul's Boutique" will never be duplicated due to the crippling financial state of affairs the record industry is currently in.
In 2009, MCA was diagnosed and treated for a cancerous salivary gland which at the time he characterized the cancer as "very treatable".
On April 14, 2012, while being inducted in Hall Of Fame by the legendary Chuck D and LL Cool J, fellow bandmates Adam "Ad-Rock" Horovitz and "Mike D" read a letter from Adam.
"I'd like to dedicate this award to my brothers, Adam and Mike, who've walked the globe with me.
To anyone who's been touched by our band, who our music has meant something to, this induction is as much ours as it is yours. To Kate Schellenbach. To John Berry. To John Berry's loft on 100th St. in Brooklyn where John's dad would come busting in during our first practices screaming, "Would you turn that fucking shit off already!"...
To my loving and supportive parents, Noel and Frances Yauch, and to our home in Brooklyn where we used to practice on hot Brooklyn days after school, windows wide open to disturb the neighborhood...
But most of all I'd like to thank and dedicate this honor to my smart, beautiful and loving wife Dechen and our sweet, talented, loving daughter Tenzin. Never has a man felt more blessed than I to be able to spend my time with my two soulmates. I love you guys more than you know.
I wish I could name everyone who deserves to be named, but of course there's too many names to name. You know who you are, and I sent my love out to all of you."
Your friend, Adam Yauch.
Adam Yauch was 47.